A disappointing return...

Fetty Wap’s explosive rise was one of 2015’s most powerful rap arcs. His single ‘Trap Queen’ was a smash straight out of the bat, with its addictive refrain bolstered by an instantly memorable video. Underlining his status with a string of Billboard Top 10s, debut album ‘Fetty Wap’ seemed to mark the emergence of a bold voice in hip-hop, someone who was unafraid to mark out his ambitions.

But then…

New album ‘The Butterfly Effect’ has taken some six years to arrive, a lengthy gap which has included marriage, divorce, legal cases, and personal grief. Two mixtapes attempted to fill the gap, but there was a feeling that the landscape was moving on, while Fetty – for reasons fans struggled to fathom – was standing still.

‘The Butterfly Effect’ attempts to kickstart this creative engine, and while it’s intermittently effective Fetty Wap struggles to regain the early moment of his career. ‘Out The Hood’ and ‘The Truth’ was a punchy opening pairing, but the record very quickly loses steam, with songs such as ‘That’s Facts’ and ‘Talk My Shit’ failing to ignite.

Indeed, Fetty Wap’s emphasis on recovering lost ground simply underlines his far behind he’s fallen. With track titles such as ‘Remember Me’ and ‘They Know My Name’ the New Jersey artist seems to spell out the problem – rap’s pantheon has changed, with entire genres rising and falling since his debut album dropped.

Latter album highlights such as ‘My Moment’ and ‘Queen’ are worth seeking out, but ‘The Butterfly Effect’ struggles to maintain its grip on the listener. Ironically for a project whose title nods towards the chaos theory, ‘The Butterfly Effect’ comes across as too predictable, too safe, and too plain – attributes few would have lodged at Fetty Wap during his rise, but claims he will struggle to shrug off from here on in.

5/10

Words: Robin Murray

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